Great Barrier Reef Map

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Great Barrier Reef Interactive Map - Cairns Plan of Management Area in Yellow

The Australian Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef structure and is one of the largest ecosystems in the World. The long reef is made up of over 2,900 smaller reefs and over 900 cays and islands spanning for over 2,300 kilometers over an region of approximately 344,000+ square kilometers. The reef is located in the western Coral Sea, off the east coast of Queensland, Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef made from tiny micro-organisms can be seen from outer space and is the world's largest single solid structure made by living organisms. The reef structure is made by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps which die and keep building on top of dead calcified polyps. The reef(s) supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a protected World Heritage Site back in 1981. Many label it as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Queensland National Trust named it a state icon of Queensland. As the largest tourist activity in the region, it was estimated in 2003 that tourism generated over $4 billion annually for Australia, and the 2005 estimate increased to over $5 billion.

A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human activity and use, such as island buildings, dumping, agriculture runoff sediment, drainage sediment, anchoring reef damage, ship bulge pumping, fertilizer runoff and other manmade hazards. Other environmental pressures on the reef and its ecosystem include over fishing; and water temperature spikes due to climate change which has caused mass coral bleaching in some areas and a unbalanced reef ecosystem. According to a main current studies by NASA, University of Queensland, University of Melbourne, the journal Science, Australian Research Council Center, World Wildlife Fund, and others that the reef has lost more than half its coral cover since the mid 1980s.

Data source: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Map Copyright CCCarto